Screened as part of NZIFF 2001

Ring 2 1999

Ringu 2

Directed by Nakata Hideo

Japan In Japanese with English subtitles
95 minutes 35mm


Production Co

Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co


Hara Masoto


Takahashi Hiroshi. Based on the novel by Suzuki Koji


Yamamoto Hideo


Takahashi Nobuyuki

Special Effects

Matsumoto Hajime


Kawai Kenji


Nakatani Miki (Takano Mai)
Sato Hitomi (Kurahashi Masami)
Fukada Kyoko (Sawaguchi Kanae)
Matsushima Nanako (Asakawa Reiko)
Sanada Hiroyuki (Takayama Ryuji)


It’s an unwritten law of filmmaking that sequels to surprise hits are inferior to the originals and usually naff. But every rule has its exceptions, and Ring 2 is a sequel to rank alongside Mad Max 2: in many ways better than the film it follows. The first Ring elaborated an invented mythology with roots in the faraway 1950s: Sadako, the psychically out-of-control daughter of a clairvoyante from Oshima Island, was entombed in an old well by her terrified mentor but survived as a vengeful spook and returned, using modern technologies (notably video) to terrorise and kill an ever-widening ring of victims. Ring 2 picks up exactly where Ring left off, starting with an extremely gruesome revelation about Sadako’s fate down the well. Reiko has disappeared with her young son; her father has fallen victim to Sadako’s homicidal videotape images; and the investigative baton is picked up by two more scared-shitless reporters and a reckless doctor who imagines that he can explain it all scientifically…

With this diptych, director Nakata Hideo (whose CV improbably includes a year in London making a documentary on Joseph Losey) almost singlehandedly drags the Japanese horror genre away from its Buddhist origins and into the Cronenberg era by making the threat existential. Wisely, he declined to make the prequel Ring 0, an Olympic-standard bore which purports to offer the ‘truth’ about Sadako. (It flopped in Japan last year.) Nakata presents Sadako’s curse as a kind of psychic virus, lethal and unstoppable. And, like Cronenberg (but unlike most mainstream horror-movie directors), he sees no need to provide a redemptive ending. There is no way out, and the isolation cell awaits. Scary as hell. — Tony Rayns, Time Out, 10/1/01

The pace is slow, the action restrained, but Nakata creates such menace you can feel it breathing on the back of your neck. A flash of long dark hair, broken fingernails, the glass of a black-framed looking-glass – it’s all he needs to have you covering up the mirrors and sleeping with the light on. It’s a gift. Like a poisoned chalice. — Victoria Segal, NME, 15/1/01